Last night I was lucky enough to present a workshop at STEAMpunks 2016. It was called Publish, Reflect and Connect- How to get started in Kindergarten Engineering. The STEAMpunks Conference was hosted by our school and involved a whole day of students, teachers and parents exploring the world of STEAM. Amanda Fox (@AmandFoxSTEM on Twitter) from the STEM Academy School in Savannah, Georgia, shared her school’s journey. She encouraged us to #FailUp- when a prototype doesn’t work rethink and redesign and have another go.
My workshop was all about using an Engineering activity- The Marshmallow Challenge to kick off a STEAM unit and to give teachers an opportunity to publish, reflect and connect to help them explore the world outside their classroom and to collaborate with other teachers around the globe.
Engineering is fun and engineering is hands-on so we spent 18 minutes of the workshop doing the marshmallow challenge. Here are some photos of what we came up with.
The buzz in the classroom was fantastic. Everyone was contributing, taking photos, sharing ideas, testing designs out and trying to build a tower for their marshmallow. After the challenge we reflected on what we had just learnt and how they had to rethink some misconceptions they might have had.
It was wonderful to share the time with amazing teachers all at different points on their STEAM journey. I enjoyed showing them what I have been doing with my class and challenging them to give it a go. Using Twitter and WordPress to Publish, Reflect and Connect helps me to challenge myself in my own classroom. When things are being created to share with an audience they have to be authentic. We have to put the effort in. Collaborating, sharing our ideas and receiving feedback helps us grow. It helps my students to connect with the world outside our school and our suburb and it helps me challenge myself to teach authentically.
Connecting and Collaborating with other teachers, parents and classes helps us enormously. I am preparing my students to be citizens of the world which means that we have to be learning about the world and in the world. STEAMpunks 2016 was exciting, it was authentic and it challenged me to reflect on what I am doing everyday. It helped me to realise (all over again) that I love my job. I look forward to continuing this journey – STEAMing ahead of course!